Are jeans fitting tighter than usual and are shirts a little snug around the tummy? That may be due to the ‘freshman 15,’ a term used to describe college students and the weight they gain in the process of completing their first year at college.
Food isn’t the only cause of weight gain, according to Nurse Adriene Gill of Dillard University. “Persons will gain 15 pounds or more from stress and being away from home,” said Gill. “Students also eat snacks with study groups and unhealthy foods.”
A poor diet and lack of exercise in college can lead to a path of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and increased risks of various types of cancer. Adjustments to diet and exercise habits can decrease risks of weight gain.
Learning about nutrition is important for a healthy start. Eating foods from the food pyramid and eating breakfast can increase energy during the day. Alcohol consumption and smoking increases weight gain. Exercising at least three days a week for 30 minutes a day is a productive way to stay fit.
Cycling to class, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, brisk walking around class and stretching in between studying are activities that aid in weight loss and can easily be included in the daily bustle. Sleeping is a great way to manage stress, which may trigger timely overeating. Seven to eight hours of sleep are needed each night. Avoiding caffeine, not napping too often, and not watching TV or listening to loud music before bed are habits that can increase the amount of proper sleep necessary for the body.
Ashley Steele, a sophomore computer science major from New Orleans, had unhealthy eating habits as a freshman, but now she is correcting her harmful practices. She is now eating salads in Kearny, drinking more water, watching her food intake and currently attending individual sports class. Steele’s old eating habits included pizza and hamburgers.
“As a freshman I would eat four times a day and always drive to the two surrounding 24-hour McDonald’s late at night.” Steele added, “[The] Freshman 15 is what I’m trying to lose this year.”
Coach Hobley suggests that students exercise, eat smaller food portions, stay away from fried foods and juices and not drink too much milk. Students should utilize the gym and take advantage of taking Physical Education classes regularly. “Health is my wealth,” said Coach Hobley.